Taking the Mickey out of Disneyland
The next attraction coming to Disneyland is huge - and it has more to do with the Millennium Falcon than Mickey Mouse.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens sputters short of Avatar, Titanic
- JJ Abrams calls Rey merchandise snub preposterous
- Star Wars episode VIII begins filming with Benicio Del Toro
For more than 60 years a visit to Disneyland has been all about the magic of fairytales and iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. But that much-loved, if staid, cartoonish universe is about to dramatically expand.
Harrison Ford, who despite being killed off in episode VII showed his importance to Disney, by being entrusted with the announcement on US television of massive Star Wars-themed extensions at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, as the film studio seeks to further capitalise on its purchase of Lucasfilm. In acquiring Lucasfilm it bought the entire Star Wars franchise for $US4.05 billion from its creator, George Lucas.
Disney already reaped huge profits from the success of the latest instalment, episode VII – Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since opening a week before Christmas, it has made $US2.040 billion, making it the third highest-grossing film of all time.
Disney teased the idea of Star Wars attractions last August, but this week is the first time any images and details have been seen. Some of Disney's official artists' impressions of the "Star Wars-themed lands" – in the so-called Star Wars Experience – it hopes to recreate are shown here but others are available at the Disney Parks Blog.
Construction is due to begin this year but Disney has not announced an opening date.
Guests to the newest attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will be able to step into sets used in the franchise (judging by the artist's impressions, especially those from The Force Awakens) and among other activities, "pilot the Millennium Falcon".
"Imagine stepping about the Millennium Falcon and actually piloting the fastest ship in the galaxy," the voiceover on Disney's TV promo clip said. "Banking left, right, firing the laser cannons – you're in complete control."
Guests will also get up close to a "battle between the resistance and the first order ... [meet] droids and aliens, entering an otherworldly street market and actually tasting the local delicacies ... or for the truly adventurous heading down to the local cantina."